The French Language Resource Page of the University of Virginia's Electronic Text Center contains e-texts from the canon of great French writers whose works would normally be studied in an undergraduate Survey of French Literature course. Of the 33 works listed, 15 are available to the general public, including La Chanson de Roland, Molière's Tartuffe, Voltaire's Candide and Zola's J'accuse. Although the web page's search for key words and phrases feature does not function, students and teachers alike will appreciate having several great texts available in electronic format, and they can rely upon their computer's own "find" option to locate key terms and passages.
Type of Material:
The site can be used in class by professors who wish to highlight certain passages of a literary work.
The site can be used as a replacement for traditional books: Students can read the e-text rather than order the book versions and wait several weeks to receive them.
Graduate students will find it useful for research.
Students and teachers alike can search for key words and phrases in the texts using their own computer's "find" feature. This is a useful tool for professors who are preparing a lecture, as well as for students who have been assigned a literary analysis.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The student will be able to read French texts in an electronic format.
Target Student Population:
Undergraduate and graduate students in French literature or philosophy classes.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
No pre-requisite knowledge is needed to use this web site which is designed for French professors and students seeking an electronic version of canonical French works.
The e-texts available to the reader are works belonging to the French canon, and their content is highly accurate.
Some of the accented letters (including those containing a tréma, a cédille, an accent circonflexe, an accent grave above the letter "u" and an accent aigu above a capital letter) in the e-texts do not appear when using the Firefox web browser on a Mac computer.
The feature enabling one to search for key words and phrases in the e-texts, which is available under the Miscellaneous French Texts heading, does not appear to function.
Over half of the texts (many of the most desirable, including Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel, Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal and Stendhal's Le Rouge et le Noir) are only available to students and professors at the University of Virginia.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This collection can be used very profitably by graduate students. It can also be used in intermediate classes or advanced class to work on literary texts.Students in intermediate or advanced language classes can perform some scenes from a Molière play, for example.
The fact that the texts are available in an electronic format facilitates student access to French books which are often difficult to obtain quickly and at an economical price. E-texts also lend themselves to "find" searches which will aid students who are looking for key words and/or passages when writing an literary analysis.
The site is "no frills." Students lose the cover art, the picture of the author and the illustrations (most notably those in Voltaire's Candide) that are a part of the published book format.The collection also does not cover a large part of the available royalty-free works. The collection does not cover a large part of the available (free of right) patrimony. Mostly Voltaire.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
It is easy to use. The user can print or copy and paste. The text can be used as long as it is not for commercial purposes.
All the links work (as long as you are a student at Virginia University). Most of these texts have been prepared by the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers (www.cnam.fr). CNAM is a French organization.
This site represents a huge amount of work. The books are scanned, then translated in text with OCR softwares and then corrected by volunteers.
The site is not aesthetically pleasing. The e-texts are nothing more than black text upon a white background, and the illustrations that would be present in the book version of each work are not available to the students.
The use restrictions are disappointing. Users can consult the web site ABU, also reviewed in MERLOT, to find more scanned works of canonic French literature, thanks to the volunteer efforts of the members of the "l'Association des Bibliophiles Universels".
Other Issues and Comments:
The link at the bottom of the French Language Resources Page--"French Offline Collections"--is a bit misleading, as once the user has clicked upon the link, he/she realizes that there are in fact no French offline collections currently available; only English, German, Greek, Hebrew, Icelandic, Latin, Spanish and Tibetan.
Some of the general links at the top of the French Language Resources Page lead to other links which no longer function ("Chadwyck-Healey" on the Contact Information Page and Etext Quick Facts and Usage Statistics under the General Info heading), however these are not links which would interfere with one's ability to access the French Language Resources section of the site.
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